On a rainy Sunday night in late May, Islander Josh Paulson brought his girlfriend Lizzie to a movie at the Capawock. It was a 9:45 pm screening of “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” The theater was empty, and after two previews, the big screen went black. Josh led Lizzie out to the aisle and got down on one knee.
“I still get butterflies thinking about it,” Lizzie Jacobs told The Times. “I can’t believe he pulled it off.”
Josh and Lizzie grew up on the Island, and both went to the Tisbury School. They started dating at MVRHS in 2008. Josh was a senior, and Lizzie was a sophomore.
“He’s been my childhood crush since maybe age 6,” Lizzie said. “He was my brother’s best friend, and I’ve always been in love with him. Finally around high school, he said, ‘You’re an adult, I think I can date you.’”
“It was a funny transition from being my friend’s little sister to the girl I love,” Josh said.
Going to the movies has always been their thing. Josh’s sister Naomi was a Capawock employee in high school, and the couple were regulars at the old Vineyard Haven theater. Ten years later, now residents of Boston, Josh and Lizzie still go to the movies on Friday nights.
“It’s been such a tradition for us for so long,” Josh said. “I thought it’d be so cool to propose at the movie theater. The idea hit me four or five months ago. But then I had to ask, How can I do this, and what would be the best theater?”
Josh got in touch with managers at the Capawock, who were helpful organizing logistics. They set up a fake 9:45 pm screening of “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” complete with two coming attraction features, followed by a slideshow of the couple.
It was Lizzie’s 26th birthday, which made things a little more complicated. “I wasn’t sure whether or not she’d be up for a movie,” Josh said. “But it worked out organically.”
“I was pretty exhausted from going out the night before,” Lizzie said. “I was actually napping, and Josh woke me up and asked if I wanted to see a movie. I said, That’s exactly what I want to do.”
They drove down to the Main Street theater and scored front-row parking. “I remember thinking, this is awesome already,” Lizzie said. They bought tickets and walked into the empty theater.
“I still didn’t think anything of it,” she said.
As the previews ran, Lizzie started noticing Josh’s behavior. “He seemed kind of nervous, pointing out silly little things, and making funny remarks about the commercials,” Lizzie said. “I started watching him out of the corner of my eye.”
All of a sudden, the commercials turned off, and an old Elvis Presley song started playing with a slideshow of the couple on the big screen.
“At this point, I’m crying,” Lizzie said. “He pulls me into the aisle and says a few things, and then got down on one knee. Now I’m bawling. The best part was he started putting the ring on before I said yes. It was the happiest I’ve ever seen him. It was the happiest I’ve ever been.”
Both their moms, and Josh’s sister, were at the back of the theater, taking photos behind watery eyes. That night, Lizzie didn’t sleep a wink.
“I still can’t believe it. It was so special,” she said. “But that’s Josh. This is why I love him as much as I do. He puts his all into everything, especially when it comes to us.”
Josh and Lizzie plan to get married on the Vineyard in the fall of 2019. “We don’t want anything fancy,” Lizzie said. “We love the backyard barbeque wedding style.”
In Boston, Lizzie is a nanny and a reading specialist, and Josh is a personal trainer. They visit the Island as much as they can.